THE face of Bridport’s high street is set to change dramatically as more long-established independent shopkeepers leave town.
As news emerged of another national chain store moving in, business leaders said they did not want Bridport to become a “clone town.”
This week Trekwise in East Street put up closing down sale signs.
In South Street, Pinn’s Photographic shop is up for sale, as is The Book Shop and the Medusa Apothecary has closed its Bridport branch The final straw for Trekwise was the news that outdoor clothing chain Mountain Warehouse would be moving in to the old Stead and Simpson store.
Philip and Sylvia Good who have run Trekwise for 11 years, said high fuel prices, the recession and the internet meant they had been struggling for the past couple of years.
But the news about Mountain Warehouse was the ‘final straw’, they said.
One and a half jobs will be lost when they leave at the end of April.
Mr Good said the bottom line was there were just not enough customers.
He said: “Mountain Warehouse moving in was the final straw. We think they are going to Blockbusters and it is such a big store and only four doors down.
“We have got an internet shop and that’s been subsidising the high street business and it can’t go on.”
The outdoor clothing chain Mountain Warehouse will be employing eight people said senior south west area manager Nick Donkin, He added: “This is a fabulous opportunity to enter a vibrant market town. We hope to add to the town’s already diverse retail offer.”
Subway fast food sandwich chain is coming but has yet to confirm where it will be based.
Bridport Business vice president Karen Hussey said the chamber was positive it didn’t want to see a ‘clone’ town.
She said: “The one thing we have always said as a chamber is that we don’t want Bridport to be a clone town and because of our independents and our market we do stay away from that - at the moment.
“You have got to have a balance and at the moment we have it fairly right.
“Subway probably got the biggest reaction of anything – both good and bad.
“There were some people who were absolutely up in arms and others saying it was fantastic it wanted to invest in the town.”
Pinns Photographic Shop in South Street is up for sale as proprietor Roger Pinn wants to retire now he is 72.
Ross Hendy, who has run The Book Shop since 1995, is also retiring and the business is for sale.
Medusa Apothecary in South Street closed recently and the shop remains empty but it is believed will be occupied by an independent shoe company.
There is good news though for Cilla and Camilla which is moving to bigger premises from South Street into the empty Cards and Things shop in East Street George’s Bakery in East Street closed in March 2012.